Election 2015: Abbotsford candidates don’t expect to hit spending cap

Abbotsford: riding has second-lowest expenditure limit in the province.

The Abbotsford riding has the second-lowest expense limit for local candidates in British Columbia, but candidates vying to represent the area in the House of Commons don’t expect it to be a problem.

Candidates in Abbotsford are allowed to spend no more than $201,361.09 in the election.

Limits are based on both a riding’s number of voters and size. The limits have been increased to account for this year’s record-long campaign.

The Abbotsford figure is ahead of only Surrey-Newton, where candidates can spend $197,640. Kootenay-Columbia has the highest limit, at more than $275,000.

As he runs to retain his seat, incumbent Member of Parliament Ed Fast said he doesn’t anticipate needing to spend to the limit.

“We fully expect that we will not be spending anywhere near the maximum we are allowed,” Fast told The News. “We’re going to use the amount supporters have entrusted us with wisely.”

Fast, who hosted Defence Minister Jason Kenney at a fundraiser for Conservative supporters on Saturday, has opened a campaign office at Unit A – 33271 South Fraser Way in Abbotsford.

NDP candidate Jen Martel said her expenditures will be based on how much money flows in from supporters, and that they will be focusing on personal interactions with voters. The party hasn’t yet set up a campaign office, and Martel – a professional lifeguard and first-aid trainer – said she has been spending most of her evenings knocking on doors.

Green candidate Stephen Fowler is out of the country. The Liberals have not yet nominated a candidate.

In the 2011 election, candidates were limited to $120,735 in spending. Fast spent the most, at $72,483 in expenditures. Liberal party candidate Madeleine Hardin spent $30,449, while the NDP’s David Alan Murray spent $17,031. Green candidate Daniel Bryce spent $769.

Candidates who garner at least 10 per cent of a riding’s vote will get back 60 per cent of their campaign expenses.

The expense limit for the adjacent Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding, which includes parts of north Abbotsford, is $216,008.